If you’ve ever been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you know just how helpless it can make you feel. When a person flees the scene of a crash, they leave the victim responsible for all vehicle damage expenses and medical expenses that result from the accident.
Those who have hit a vehicle and fled the scene must be held liable for their actions.
Learn how you can seek justice for your Texas hit-and-run accident from your Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze and Johns, PLLC.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), Texas is in the top 10 states of hit-and-run deaths. Between 2015 and 2016, there was a 30 percent rise in the number of deadly crashes in Texas.
Reports from the AAA show a total of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes each year. Of those crashes, most of the victims killed were pedestrians or bicyclists.
After a car accident, everyone involved is legally required to stay at the scene and exchange information. This ensures that everyone has the proper insurance information and helps insurance companies establish fault and monetary damages.
If a person flees the scene after a crash, they may face criminal charges. The following are possible charges a person may face after a hit-and-run accident:
- If vehicle damage is less than $200, it is a Class C misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500.
- If vehicle damage is more than $200, it is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by jail time of up to 6 months, and/or a maximum fine of $2,000.
- If the accident involved an injury that is not serious, it is a felony offense punishable by jail time of up to 5 years, and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
- If the accident results in serious injury or death, it is a third-degree felony punishable by jail time of up to 10 years, and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Those who stay at the scene after a car accident are often dealing with a civil liability issue. Insurance information is exchanged and fault is established by the insurance company. Fleeing the scene of a crash results in criminal charges, fines, and possible jail time.
Even if the accident was your fault, it’s important to take responsibility and stay at the scene of the crash.
What to Do After Being Involved in a Hit-and-Run
After a hit-and-run, your adrenaline is most likely pumping and it can be difficult to figure out your next step. Many people have the urge to follow the fleeing driver and confront them, but that can compromise the police investigation and cause you to miss out on eyewitness accounts.
To properly handle a hit-and-run:
- Call 911 if you or a passenger have been injured in the crash.
- Collect as much information on the driver, car, and accident as possible.
- Ask witnesses for additional information on the accident along with their names and contact information.
Staying at the scene and collecting as much information as possible can help police locate the fleeing driver. Talking to witnesses can also provide you with details of the crash you may have missed by being in your car.
Seeking Financial Relief With Your Houston Car Accident Attorneys
Seeking financial relief in a hit-and-run accident can be difficult. Most drivers are required to have liability on their vehicles to pay for the damages of the vehicle they hit. However, if a driver flees from the scene you may be left to pay for the damages yourself. If you have full coverage on your vehicle, your policy may cover the damages but it all depends on your specific policy.
An experienced car accident attorney can search for other sources of financial compensation including your insurance company, or a third party such as the government. Your attorney can negotiate your claims and get you the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be searching for financial relief. Schedule a FREE case review with your Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns today to get started on your legal claim.